Self-assembled monolayers

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Self-assembled monolayers.
Schematic diagram of a self-assembled monolayer. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) are a self-organizing layer of amphiphilic molecules in which the hydrophillic "head" group is attracted to a substrate and the hydrophobic "tail" end sticks-out into the solution with a functional molecule on the end. The self-attracting head group will nucleate and grow into a tightly packed single molecular layer on the substrate. SAMs are widely used in electronic and nano manufacturing for example, as well as in the study and modeling of biological systems (e.g. membranes).